living braver

one faith step at a time…


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Desire…

floewrheartx     God’s heart words to our souls speak of desire. So many references but we get wrapped up in the immediate. The urgent earthly love and pursuits.

But He beckons “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4 NIV)

All our pursuits of pleasing family, making a living, volunteering, vacationing – all fall short and still we desire more. Unsatisfied we try harder, we analyze, we fill up on what leaves us empty.

“O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1 NIV)

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While raising children, succeeding in the workplace, and helping those in need are planted in us by Him they only truly satisfy when first we are seeking Him. Satisfying the yearning with His word. Finding our meaning by recognizing we are chosen by Him. Our parched soul thirsts and when we seek out the source of unending Living Springs we then overflow to this dry and weary world.

“You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (Psalm 145:16 NIV) When we are filled up with Him, He can use us to show the way to others. The Bible tells us we were created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Not works we think up, not works to check off a list, not works to gain brownie points. The works we’re created to do overflow from a heart bent on doing His will.

“I desire to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within in my heart.” (Psalm 40:8 NIV)

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Self gives birth to desires that never seem to be fulfilled. Constantly wandering after more and more. The world today can’t get enough to the point what is good becomes dark and causes pain. Seeking God gives birth to a desire that can be satisfied. The soul knowledge that we rest in the loving arms of the King of forever, and someday we shall see Him face to face.

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides You.” (Psalm 73:25 NIV) Will this characterize me every moment? Oh I wish. I will be selfish, I will want what me wants and not seek Him first. But I can silence the whispers of  ‘failure’  by being drenched in the promise that I am a work in progress. He has begun a good work and someday it will be complete.

Until then I can cling to and look forward to precious words of life as I “Praise the Lord, O my soul… [He} satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1, 5 NIV)

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Because of…

hearts pixa     Can’t earn it…Don’t deserve it…Can’t lose it.

To Live Braver is not a task, a to-do, a mountain to climb, or fear to conquer.

Yet life here is based on performance. As children – behave correctly, to be praised. As students – score a high grade, to get ahead. As a woman – look a certain way, to be noticed. As a man – make a living, to have worth.

As a child of God there is no performance required on our part. Christ has done it all. For all the times I have caused a frown here on earth, He has atoned. For all the times I have been selfish, He has been generous. For all the times I have ignored, He has noticed. He has overcome all our shortcomings – past, present, to come.

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But  b e c a u s e  o f   His great love for us, God who is rich in mercy… (Ephesians 2:4 NIV)

That great love isn’t earned, deserved or ever lost — it can be shared, can be the source of comfort, can be our Brave.

And oh yes, Mercy – He is so rich in it. A storehouse full that never empties out. Mercy poured over us, drenching us. In such mercy we are standing in His presence. Shining in the Light of Christ, His righteousness lighting up our very countenance. The Holy Spirit in us now – that we reflect the Light for all.

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How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1John 3:1 NIV)

His little ones, beloved ones, those who walk all eternity with Him. Lavish = generous, extravagant quantity. With so much, will we share? With each sharing we are courageous. There is no fear in love, love drives out fear and “We love because He first loved us.” (1John 4:19 NIV)

What freedom – live in Him, trust in Him. Freed to not perform, freed to show what He has done. We can love, BECAUSE OF… Jesus!

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If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!


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Away from me…

applex     I think I could walk with a lot less fear if I could just get over me. It’s as old as time… Eve feared she was missing out on something, so she took matters into her own hands – all about Eve, and Adam right there with her, eager to see what he was missing, all about Adam. And so it goes in our world, all about self – and so sin abounds…

When we have our temporary moments of walking selflessly and life becomes more about another, our anxieties seem to disappear and a brave we never knew takes over. Think about the times you brushed off a skinned knee, handed a homeless person money, helped an elderly person in need…Out of the element of self we walked in courage.

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“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.” (James 2:8 NIV)

A sweet husband, father died tragically last week – car accident. At his memorial it was clear he had touched many lives. It was clear he spent himself on others, and lived courageously as few of us do.

This morning it rained good and hard, much as I love waking to a sunny, blue sky, sometimes the rain has to come. Sometimes it takes a drenching, cleansing to reveal the Light… “When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12 NIV)

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When we wash away self out of every thought and fill up on His every thought, we can see more clearly…

“You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see more clearly…” (Matthew 7:5 NIV)

Away from me I can see Him more clearly and see others the way He sees… Will I reach out to the stranger who could be in a car accident today with the Good News of salvation, or do I keep it to myself? A hurting world full of self needs a few who can, even temporarily, be brave enough to see beyond our own doubts, anxieties, worries – and offer hope for theirs…

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To the Rescue…

Jesus to the rescue1     Ever notice Hollywood is all about super heroes? Movies where someone or someplace is in distress and only a hero can save the day. Superman to the rescue…

Don’t we all wish that in our moments of despair swooping down through the air would be a Captain America to make it all ok?

Like when the 85 year old grandpa finds out he has an inoperable clot in his leg and it has to be amputated. Like when the house you just put down new flooring in floods. Where is a super hero when you need one?

“The eternal God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you.” (Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT)

Our God is much more than any superhero could even imagine. Will he restore the amputee or the ruined bank account – not necessarily in this life, but in the life to come those who confess Jesus as Lord will be restored and much more…

“Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You.” (Psalm 9:10 NIV)

What we really need saving from is ourselves. In our selfishness we have let sin separate us from the love of God. Daunting and terrifying as the tragedies here on earth may seem, they are nothing compared to a forever without God. Our God sent His Son, swooping down from the very presence of His Father to save us – not just in one time of calamity, but for all time.

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Jesus did what no man – no matter how wealthy, strong, influential, or intelligent – could ever do. He stepped into humanity and lived a perfect life, that He could be a perfect sacrifice once for all and forever, to those who will believe…

“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.” (1Peter 3:18 NLT)

Jesus to the rescue, now that’s what I’m talking about… 

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If you stopped by because you read my devotion today over at Encouragement Cafe, WELCOME!   So glad you are here!  Click on the Back to Paris Renae link at the top, perhaps a look a the extraordinary ordinary would lighten your day…

 


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True Confessions…

envelope1     The mail came, an envelope looking like junk mail contained not a catalog but a thick packet of blame…

In this world no matter how hard we try do right – no matter that we are innocent – selfish will seek to lay the blame, want what selfish feels should be theirs – counting only their reward, not our cost…

So, true confession, this past week I exhaled fearful sighs, gritted my teeth while I slept, fretted… Then came more, sick husband, back pain and I looked up and said ‘Help?’

Then came these lyrics “I’m giving you fear, You’re giving me faith. I’m giving you doubt, You give me grace. For every step, I’ve never been alone.” (Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets)

Thankful that the Father inspires fellow Christians to encourage us with – words, music, prayer… EnCouragement – I looked up what the prefix En means: to cause to be in. So when we receive a song, a story, a prayer, a hug, a pat on the back, a knowing look – the giver is causing us to be in courage: EnCourage.

The chorus of the song encourages further: If there’s a road I should walk, help me find it. If I need to be still, give me peace for the moment. Whatever Your will, can You help me find it?

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you,” says the Lord. (Psalm 32:8 NIV)

Help me find it… Your instruction, your counsel. In those moments when the mail arrives, in those moments in the dark, in those moments in doubt’s blurry vision… Help me find it… the way I should go, watch over me…

“The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:8 NIV)

Day by day, friend, moment by moment – grace enough to breathe and encouragement enough to trust – one faltering step in front of the other… EnCouraged because of His faithfulness…

(Side note: decided a piece of chocolate would help, look at the message inside this Dove chocolate wrapper… the message is for you and for me:

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